Movie Review: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
In the past eleven years, we as an audience have witnessed something truly remarkable in cinema. After a surprise blockbuster hit in 2008’s Iron Man, we’ve been absolutely spoiled by what’s become the gold standard for comic book to big screen adaptations. While some may not be held on as high of a pedestal as others, what’s truly incredible is that Disney/Marvel has created an entire universe consisting of twenty-two exceptional and interlocking films.
But all good things must come to an end.
In 2018, we got part one of the two-part conclusion to this ten year journey in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, in which our heroes met their match against the almighty Thanos (Josh Brolin), a mad titan who’s hellbent on creating balance to the universe by purging it of fifty percent of all living things. Of course, if you’re reading this, you probably know he’s successful in his mission and at the dour ending of the film, we see some of our favorite heroes reduced to ash and those who remain left rattled, including the audience.
“Thanos will return,” directors Joe and Anthony Russo cheekily added to the end of the Infinity War credits – a nod to prior films alluding to the return of their titular heroes in upcoming endeavors.
One year and two billion dollars later, we have part two in Avengers: Endgame, and I have to say, it’s nothing like anything Marvel has done before. While there is a lot of familiarity in comedic beats and a lot of callbacks to previous films, Endgame very much rides the dreadful wave of emotions following the events of the first film. There’s an overbearing sense of dread throughout most of the film (especially at the beginning) because there’s no absolute certainty that anything our heroes attempt is going to work. While Infinity War was very much a Thanos driven film, Endgame is back to being purely an Avengers film, except this time around they’re broken and defeated. Everybody is dealing with their personal losses and guilt of global loss in their own way, and the grief carries over into the viewer, as well.
It’s difficult to talk about elements of the movie without spoiling anything. With the marketing around the film revealing next to nothing and the rampant social media campaigns from Disney/Marvel pages urging the fans to not spoil the movie, I’m going to avoid diving into basically any details of what happens in this review. Perhaps I’ll do a spoiler review this weekend when I’ve had a chance to digest the film some more after a second viewing because there is a LOT I’d like to talk about.
What I will say though is that the emotional beats of Endgame are unmatched by anything else we’ve seen so far in these films. There’s an overbearing sense of uneasiness and dread. There’s an incredible amount of hope and determination. There are tears to be had of both flavors stemming from both powerful, inspirational moments and on the contrary, unbearable loss. The film packs such an emotional punch because we’ve been through so much with these characters over the past eleven years.
While it truly is a satisfying closing chapter to a twenty-two film arc in which they’re dubbing The Infinity Saga, there’s clearly going to be further additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in years to come. One has to wonder though how and if these last eleven years can truly ever be topped. I’m thinking not, but I’d love to be one hundred percent wrong.